'Apocalypse' show to cause a new 'Sensation' for art lovers

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To describe the art of Tim Noble and Sue Webster as a pile of rubbish would not be an insult, merely a statement of fact.

To describe the art of Tim Noble and Sue Webster as a pile of rubbish would not be an insult, merely a statement of fact.

The Undesirables, part of the Royal Academy's "Apocalypse: Beauty and Horror in Contemporary Art" exhibition due to open on 23 September, was created strictly from the flotsam and jetsam found around the streets of the couple's east London home. The finishing touches were being added yesterday to the 10ft-high abstract sculpture, which becomes a self portrait when silhouetted on the wall behind.

"When the couple first came to London they were poor and so had to use materials which were free to them," explained a spokesman for the Royal Academy of Art.

Noble and Webster - whose previous works have included declarations of love in neon lights and waxworks of themselves as Neanderthals - spent six months completing the sculpture, which depicts them looking out at a sunset. It is among the works being showcased at "Apocalypse", which the academy hopes will match the success of 1997's "Sensation".

The brothers of Brit Art, Jake and Dinos Chapman, and Darren Almond are three of the artists from "Sensation" who are exhibiting in "Apocalypse". With their usual flare for controversy, the Chapman brothers have created a giant sculpture of a swastika, Hell, which they described as a comment on the innate inadequacy of artistic responses to the Jewish Holocaust.

The themes of richness, beauty, horror, complexity and diversity in the world today will be reflected in 13 installations, paintings, sculptures and video works - most of which are being displayed publicly for the first time.

An Academy spokesman said: "Apocalypse is a story of extremes. This exhibition is a contemporary, secular interpretation of the biblical story of St John the Divine which contains elements ranging from the horrors of genocide to the beauties of Utopia."

Other works include Mariko Mori's Dream Temple, which reflects Japanese popular culture alongside traditional spirituality, new paintings by Luc Tuymans that reflect the horror of 20th-century genocide anda video installation by Chris Cunningham.

The exhibition, partly sponsored by The Independent and The Independent on Sunday, runs until 15 December.

For the first time in the Academy's history, each artist will be given his own gallery during the exhibition.

Among the other international artists exhibiting are Jeff Koons, from New York; Maurizio Cattelan, an Italian famous for his witty, unorthodox sculptures; and Wolfgang Tillmans, a German whose carefully staged photographs are designed to appear to capture the immediacy of the moment.